Salesmen are Great at Telling You What You Need, What About What You Want?

Michael Mobile Technician Clinton, Utah Posted   Latest  

Since about 2010 I have worked with large companies to promote their products. I once was an independent rep for Bosch. We had a huge meeting. We went to the Atlanta NASCAR track and had meetings on the new tool. The KTS-340. All the Brass and all the engineers were so proud of themselves. It was a beauty to behold.

At the time, I was doing diagnostic work for several shops. I relied on scan tools to do my work. In my preview, I quickly learned that this tool had holes as big as the Grand Canyon and it was slow as molasses on a Winter's day. The tool was supposed to have J2534 abilities. It never worked as a J-Box. Working on a North American brand, Good Luck! Ford, GM, Chrysler were spotty at best. The issue here is that companies like "YES" men. Folks that do not tell them their product is not ready. Oh yeah, this tool is awesome! Engineers say "This processor will handle the program" Automotive technicians say "We want a tool that boots up fast and moves through the menus" Who reviewed this tool? Who were the Beta testers? Did you tell Bosch it was not going to fly? Many reviewers are in the press. They look at the design, the buttons, how do I turn it on, what is listed in the menu. They rarely use the tool in a production environment.

Working in product development is very frustrating. You propose exactly what the technician needs. The first thing the sales department does is ask how we can take cost out of it. Your dream product becomes a dud. your rugged enclosure becomes cheap plastic. your quad core processor becomes an antiquated single core. Your unique features are stripped out. You are stuck with a slow, cheap looking tool. So how do we as technicians get the word to the tool manufactures that their tool is awful?

In my previous position I was working on a product that was a remake of a 20th century device that was very successful. I told the product manager that it needed to boot fast. I suggested a new Octa-Core ECU. I am thinking maybe 15 - 30 seconds boot time. I took in an Autel 908P and demonstrated an acceptable boot time. He declined using a modern processor. His choice was an 800 MHz processor. His iteration was 2 minutes plus in boot time.

When visiting shops they express frustration that their new $15K scan tool is nothing more than a graphing code reader with a labscope tied to it. They tell me that they purchased the tool to replace me. Now they have a monthly bill in addition to costs for my services. Training? "To learn this new $15K tool, you can go to the company You Tube site and it has everything you need" What happened to good old personal service? Most will agree they want someone that can help them walk through processes.

I get asked time and time again. Why doesn't my tool have this OE feature? One reason is that several of the popular scan tool providers have tight relationships with the OEM. Those dollars far exceed what they could get from the aftermarket. They could reverse engineer any feature that the OEM tool has. They don't want to upset the OEMs. In fact, sometimes the OEMs ask the aftermarket to remove features that they don't like. Soon with the new update, you can now do less with your scan tool. A second reason, tied to the first is that these companies pay for features to add for their tools and usually do not get the information by reverse engineering. The OEMs are not willing to allow features that compete with their in house abilities. What we end up with is a tool that reads codes, can help us find a diagnosis but lack the ability to complete the work. We find a faulty sensor or module, we replace it. Now it is time to code the module. Oh, that requires an OEM tool. What? 

So we as technicians are screaming for tools that work. Tools that allow us to do our work start to finish. Autel in my opinion comes the closest. Tools like Autoland Scientech and X-Tool are nipping at their heels. Autologic had a great thing going for a while. In fact, the tool was as near OEM as could be for the Euro lines. In addition to OE level software, the support staff was there not just to tell you what buttons to push, but to help you fix the car. My understanding is that some of the car lines are back to OE level coding and programming. The tech assist has been a part of the process all along.

Here we are, salesman in the door all the time. Buy this, Buy that, it will solve your problems. How about let us tell you what we want. When you come up with it, come see us.

+16
George Owner/Technician
Skagway, Alaska
George Default
 

Well said Mike...... I grumble all the time about how long it takes to get my scanners on line. Especially windows based snap on scanners. Hello....... manufacturers we as twechs don't have the time to stand around waiting on your piece of equipment to boot up and go through the menus.

+1
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Gary Owner/Technician
Roseville, California
Gary Default
 

Great post. This is exactly why i have almost every OE scanner. I was tired of being let down by aftermarket scan tools or disappointing my customers. The tool sales guys just tell you what you want to hear but really have no idea what the tool does or doesn’t do. I primarily work in the collision industry and most of the cars I’m working on are less than 10 years old, and very often, less than…

+1
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Steven Owner/Technician
Mechelen, Belgium
Steven Default
 

Hi Guys, all the same around the globe. we have about 30 tools in house, if you want to work on cars that are nearly one year old or a few there is no other way, Autel is going real fast at this moment, probably because they do not supply to the OEM, they buy at the OEM .. most tools have indeed goth to much Ties on other product’s with the OEM market.. so they cannot push.. for years the…

+3
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

There is one thing that drives product development- sales. If sub-par tools would not sell, quality and performance would improve. We purchasers are such a bunch of buffoons that we buy large quantities of the lousy products which they offer, so they happily make more of the same. This whole scenario is very similar to the part-slinging mechanic vs. the highly-competent technician issue. Which…

+2
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
Scott Default
 

Hence the reason you're not working for Bosch and quite possibly many of the others who hand their hands in the KT-340, right? :-) Based on what you saw/experienced, the same things seem to happen again and again. Rinse and Repeat...

0
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
   

Hi Mike: I'm not sure who peed in your Cheerios today but you seem to be all over the place with this post. In a previous life, I worked for Botch. Actually, I was hired by Vetronix. Within 5 paychecks (bi-monthly), there were 4 different company names at the top of the check. When I started, I was number 11 in seniority in the Northeast Region (bottom of the totem pole). In 4 months, I was…

+2
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Guido, I suppose my message was lost in the text. Sorry about that. The point I was attempting to make was. 1) Those who produce tools need to have them tested and then improved before selling them. Make sure the techs are going to like them before ordering them made. 2) Those who sell the tools need to honestly represent them. Know the limitations and the hot buttons before going out and…

+2
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Mike: I know that you're in the business. That's why I was confused about where you were attempting to go with your post. I have no issues with anything that you wrote in this post. #1 is always going to be a fight. It could be because of the world of Excel spreadsheet weenies. It could be because of a Product Manager allowing his mouth to write a check that his ass can't …h. It could be…

+2
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Robert Engineer
Durham, North Carolina
Robert Default
 

Hello Anthony, I think you are being a bit unfair with Christopher. He is simply pointing out that our industry has been fighting tooth and nail against anything that will lower the barrier to entry in scan tools. They have withheld important bits of information from the aftermarket in order to complete vehicle repairs. Be it under the false guise of vehicle security or other. It is nothing…

0
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Technician
Atlanta, Georgia
Mike Default
 

You are in the small minority of sales who actually made some effort. 99% of salesmen just sell. Doesn't matter if it works. No technical knowledge needed, just make something up. Doesn't work? Blame the tech. "You're the only one who has a problem with it." and "well sounds like your mechanics don't know what they're doing/don't want to do it" Who hasn't heard that, right?

+3
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tony Inspector
Santa Barbara, California
Tony Default
 

I think it's hilarious that you used the KTS-340 as an example.

+2
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Ben Mechanic
Chesnee, South Carolina
Ben Default
 

I don't even want a scanner anymore. Many new vehicles have more than enough equipment built in already to skip the use of a scanner. We should be able to use the touch screen to query the vehicle and have it show us the codes and data on the spot. We should only have to connect a separate piece of equipment when the internal diagnostic capability has gone awry. Plus vehicles even have wifi and…

-1
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Robert Engineer
Durham, North Carolina
Robert Default
 

Hello Ben, You are exactly right. For over a decade a number of us have been suggesting that vehicles should do exactly what you suggest. Use the multi function display to give at least basic diagnostic information. Well it is not done for reasons I am certain you are aware of. I wish I could replay all the arguments why when a CEL came on the "codes" did not display on the dash. The arguments…

0
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mario Curriculum Developer
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Mario Default
 

Hi Ben: "We should be able to use the touch screen to query the vehicle and have it show us the codes and data on the spot". Cadillac was doing that back in the '80's and 90's. You just pressed the "OFF" and "WARMER" buttons on the climate control panel at the same time and it took you into the diagnostic mode. From there you could read and clear codes from almost any module. On many vehicles…

0
Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Paul Mobile Technician
Salem, Massachusetts
Paul Default
 

Hi Michael, not to go off subject here but I would be interested in learning more about the X Tool you mentioned. Maybe you could start a different discussion or provide a link. Thanks.

0
Default Ð Bounty Awarded